Chapter 12: Tower of Torture
The predicament that I allowed myself to run into blindly was unquestionably pure torture. It felt fair for me to debate with myself whether or not I should have just let the wolves tear me apart.
Every time I have a chance to dive into death, I fight it. I am starting to believe that my death wishes are false and I am just hoping for someone to save me from this depressing life. The freedom I sought is long gone. Who knows how long I will be here now. I wanted to resent Clyde, but something deep down would drown out that bitterness lingering in my heart.
As quickly as it faded away, it would rise up again soon after the feeling would reside. The indignation was fueling off the secrets that were being kept. However, it all was beginning to come together like missing pages returning to it’s book. Everything up until now was making sense to me.
Finding Clyde sleeping in my sanctuary, to him stopping Ayden from feeling me up. Tristan and him ruining the betrothal by starting a revolution against their own brother, because Clyde was meant to be King? What were their motives from the start?
Was this some petty revenge to get back at each other? Or do they actually share the same feelings towards me? But how? I have never met any of them before.
“I should not care!” I answered myself out loud, fists slamming down hard on the stone windowsill. All I could do was await for something to happen, but I wanted nothing to do with Clyde or Tristan. Not until they explain themselves.
Turning away from the opened window, I slump down with the chains rattling at my feet. I lay my head back against the wall with my legs firmly pulled to my chest. Anger only seethed through me as I wait impatiently for anything to happen.
Ignatius was obnoxiously annoying as I was to him. He was lounging far from me in a deep sleep on the chair. It has been two days since Cloud announced that the three princes would be joining the Uniting. I have yet to see or hear from any of them. Of course, Cloud mentioned I would be aiding Ignatius through the nights, but nothing like that has happened.
Sharing the same room with Ignatius was not what I intended though. When we first arrived here he shackled me up so I wouldn’t go snooping around his room. The last two nights he disappeared and had not come back until morning to sleep.
What was he hiding?
My eyes scan over him, looking over his entire body. He was a complete jerk, yet he did look very peaceful while sleeping. His black hair clung to his reddened cheeks making it look like he had been sweating. His pink lips were sealed shut, not even partially open.
He wore a black long sleeve shirt that hugged tightly around his torso. There was an expensive dark blue material wrapped multiple times around his neck. His hands were even covered by black leathered gloves.
It was unusual for someone to cover up that much when winter has yet to come. I was sure I have seen his bare hands before, so why would he now cover them up? As well as his neck.
“If you keep glaring at me like that, you will only get wrinkles dear,” Ignatius spoke, startling me.
“Like I care,” I huffed out, “Why would beauty matter if I am going to be locked up in a tower with some cryptic lunatic? Besides, it is ones personality that should receive recognition.”
“Tch! You speak too much,” He growls, his orange eyes shooting open to return a glare. “I would like to sleep in silence, but you keep mouthing off and staring holes into me.”
“Well I wouldn’t be so upset if you had not chained me up!” I quickly shot back narrowing my eyes at his infuriating face.
“You wouldn’t understand, but that is for your own safety.” His anger suddenly subsided he stood from the chair with a blank expression etched on his face.
“How could keeping me locked up be for my safety?”
Ignatius sighs, his gloved hand rubbing the back of his neck. His eyes peer down to ground like he was trying to understand that himself.
“Unfortunately, it is my only option. Cloud put you under my care knowing I would eventually kill you even though we’ve been ordered to keep you alive by Atlas.” Ignatius explains, but his answer left me confused.
“That does not explain why I am held down by these.” I annoyingly pick the chains up and let the heavy metal fall to the floor.
“Like I told you once before, it will keep you from poking your head in my matters. You are a naive girl, I can not have you aiding me. It will only result in your death. Are we clear?”
“If you weren’t such an ass, I would think you were concerned for me,” I provoke seeing how he would react.
Ignatius’s chuckle filled the room, causing me to look up at him. His index finger and thumb were pinching the bridge of his nose.
“You are a nuisance and only a weak human being to me.” He says, opening his wicked eyes to look at me with an inhumane stare. “Perhaps, you are something more than that though. Would you like to tell me how you commanded those wolves to stop?”
“It’s possible, if you set me free from these restraints.” I give a sly smile, matching his.
Ignatius’s tall lean frame towered over me as he walked to stand directly in front of me. This position has seemed all too familiar, yet it had felt different this time. Like an army marching towards me to engage in an intense battle of war. I could feel this dark aura seeping from him.
It was about time I did something for myself and not worry about another standing in my way. Relying on anyone was fatal to me and to them. If I sought to be free from these restraints I couldn’t wait for someone like Clyde or Tristan to save me. No, I need to stand up for myself. Become someone independent.
“Enlighten me, dear.” Ignatius deepens his smirk becoming even more interested.
“First, you have to answer a couple of my questions.” I insisted.
Ignatius didn’t seem to keen on the idea, but he nodded his head anyways. “Fair enough. Although, I may not answer them all depending what it is.”
He was the type who wouldn’t let me ask too many questions. I had to ask carefully or I may not learn anything valuable. The first question was simple.
“As you probably know, I have been shut in my castle ever since I was young. There’s nothing about this world that I know, except what I have learned in a small selection of books.” I began explaining and Ignatius gave me his full attention listening silently.
If I ask him this question, perhaps it will explain how him and Cloud are different from the rest of us. They are clearly far from being humans. However, I can not see them being in the same league as a god.
“What exactly is the Gates of Eimbridge as well as the purpose of the Peacekeepers?” My question had not caught him off guard. It almost looked as if he were expecting it.
There was a moment of silence before he finally began to speak, “The Gates of Eimbridge is the grounds of peace between humans and the gods. The Peacekeepers are neither friend or foe to both. The Peacekeepers purpose is to keep peace between the humans to prevent war from breaking out. That is why we hold the Uniting of Seven Kingdoms.”
“Each Peacekeeper has a special gift to enforce fear on the Kingdoms, so they are unable to retaliate against us. As you have may noticed, there are obviously Seven Kingdoms and Seven Peacekeepers—”
“I remember only seeing a total of six,” I cut him off receiving a glare warning me to shut my mouth.
“You have only seen six because the seventh is not here. Atlas, is the head of the Peacekeepers, also the one in charge of the Kingdoms Aridor and Monnon. The rest of us are in charge of the other six.”
“That would be eight Kingdoms. I don’t understand why it is called Uniting of Seven Kingdoms.” I point out.
Ignatius let’s out an exasperated sigh. “You asked me a question, I am answering! Just allow me to explain.”
“Aridor and Monnon are considered as one Kingdom to Atlas, because those are the only two that automatically have a betrothal set. Any remaining Princes or Princesses join the Uniting,” He shrugs like he didn’t understand it himself or he just didn’t care.
“Next question,” He demands impatiently.
“Why do the Uniting when you can betroth everyone to different Kingdoms?”
It was clear that they could betroth everyone, but perhaps it was to give them the satisfaction of options. Although, the three princes of Aridor looked very unsatisfied when they learned they had to join in the event.
“There wouldn’t be any entertainment that way,” Ignatius’s honesty was truly invigorating. “The main reason we allow Aridor and Monnon are simply because Atlas is almost never here. He doesn’t wish to enter his Kingdoms in the events.”
“And you do? For the sole purpose of entertainment?” My stomach twisted in disgust.
How could they use us for their entertainment?
“You have it all wrong. The Kingdom I look over is indeed entered, but because they have to be. Atlas is a different story, but for me, I do not have time to care for such events. Cloud makes the decisions in my stead,” Ignatius clarified.
“You rest all day long, how do you not have plenty of time?” I was bewildered by his words. Ignatius spends his entire days sleeping. Does that mean he is nocturnal?
“Enough questions, tell me how you control the wolves and you have my word. I will allow you to be unchained.” Ignatius demands.
He steps closer like what I’m about to say will be unheard. His orange eyes are directly gazing into mine, unblinking. His smirk has turned into a significantly serious look. He impatiently drops to my level with a low squat. Ignatius’s face moves closer to mine curiously.
“Tell me,” He practically whispers out, his warm breath heating my cheeks. He was close, too close.
“May I show you?” I offer, unsure of how to even explain it to him. He would be very unhappy if I told him I had no clue. It was my only option to see for myself how those wolves submitted to me.
Ignatius’s serious expression continued as he nodded his head in approval. With ease, the chains unlatched from my ankles and he yanked me upwards with him.
“Ow!” I wince out in pain from the same wound he gave me a couple days ago. It was festering from the lack of treatment it was given.
Ignatius shot me an annoyed look and grabbed my wounded arm. He carefully held my delicate arm outwards examining it. The wound took form of his large hand, the outlining of it was an irritated red color. While the inside had been blistering with a highly unpleasant yellow tinge. It was gravely infected.
Ignatius’s eyes held some sort of guilt for a moment, but it quickly changed to a dark depressing glare. He bent down towards the wound closing the space between my arm and his face.
“This will not heal completely, unless...” He trailed off hesitating to continue.
“Unless what?” I asked, perplexed at his actions.
“It doesn’t matter,” He says before the lightest touch like a feather pressed softly on my arm next to the burn.
Ignatius’s tender lips rested on my arm causing my face to flush into a bright red. The heat on my cheeks rose higher as a jolt of energy rushed through me. The blistering began to disappear as the skin began healing itself. The redness faded while the shape of the wound became smaller. A warmth buzzed inside me making me feel more alive than before.
“H-how?” I stutter out as Ignatius drew his head back overlooking the somewhat healed wound. Clyde said Ignatius healed my wounds before, but this was beyond my imagination. If a small kiss almost healed a wound like that, than how was it possible that he healed my other wounds completely? The idea had me flustered.
“The infection is gone,” He says dropping my arm to walk away. “Hurry or I will burn you again.” He threatens.
As much as I wanted to ask him more questions, I believe I have reached my limit for the day. I hurriedly followed after him to leave the room behind. He trotted down a spiral of stairs I remember him bringing me up.
The room we stayed in was a tower far away from the pleasant side of the castle. Ignatius lived in the abandoned part, where no one ventured to. To me, it made him even more mysterious. The only thing that came in mind was that he wanted his space away from everyone else.
It was easy to tell he would lose his temper pretty easily and most of the drapes or stone were covered in scorch marks. This side of the castle looks like it had caught fire at one point. An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of my stomach.
Before I knew it, we stepped out of the castle walls onto the overgrown grass. The entire area in front of us was covered in wild flowers and very tall green trees. What seemed like spring was actually fall. The cold crisp air of the season had made it’s presence known. However, the sight in front of me deceived my eyes into believing that it may be spring.
“Eco has the ability to create life to nature,” Ignatius explained upon seeing my confused expression.
“Oh,” Was all I managed to muster out. The beauty of the wild flowers brought a smile on my face. It was refreshing to be able to come outside even though I had been use to being locked away.
Ignatius turned around to see me stopping in my tracks to feel the bark of the very large tree. My hand traced over the hardness, surprised at the roughness against my hand. Just like I have witnessed once before, the trees leaves rattled and swayed in the wind. The branches creaked and the leaves fell noiselessly to the ground.
“Stay close to me,” Ignatius says, “we are heading to the barracks and it would be troublesome if you wander off.”
“Of course,” I replied parting from the tree I wished to examine more.
We followed a small dirt trail with me walking right beside Ignatius. His long strides made it impossible to keep up, but I managed. The view of stables soon appeared along with a large basic stone building. Men surrounded a white wooden corral gazing upon a very skilled rider who spun his horse around.
The man’s eyes immediately land on Ignatius and they widen in fear. The attention the man gave us caused the bystanders to turn their heads towards us. Instantaneously, I noticed Clyde and Tristan leaning against the fence.
Their faces held a surprised expression much like my own. I quickly dropped my gaze, avoiding to come in contact with them. It would lead to a very angry Ignatius. Besides, right now it would be best to keep my distance until I am ready for them to explain everything.
“Princess—” Clyde whispered out, but suddenly stopped. A warm hand rested on my shoulder leading me away from the group. The only thing I could focus my sight on were my feet moving rapidly at a pace to match Ignatius’s.
“The young lady is with me,” Ignatius’s voice broke the silence among the men. It was a daring taunt against Clyde and Tristan. I could only imagine what their reaction could be.
Next time I’ll dream sweeter🌹
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